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Very Young MCs: Brooklyn Babies Try Out DJing
September 25, 2013 10:13 AM   Subscribe

"The midi-trigger’s connected to the laptop, the laptop’s connected to the PA" Mommy and baby yoga, music and sign language classes are apparently so over. Some parents are instead giving baby disc jockey classes a spin.
posted by capnsue (33 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
On the one hand, a wee bit ridiculous.

On the other hand, there is nothing cuter than a baby/toddler in gigantic headphones, so I'm totally on board as long as each picture comes with illustrations.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:23 AM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is a bit silly. It's not like they're teaching babies to beat match records. They're just using samplers. The babies push buttons that make sounds. Playskool makes like three dozen different toys that do that.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:25 AM on September 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


I was about to complain about how every time someone in Brooklyn does something different all 3 million of us get tagged with it, but then I realized that I have never experienced real prejudice and that I should just shut up and look at babies in headphones.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:25 AM on September 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Well it's just a rational economic decision, clearly these parents read Potomac Avenue's post today! They're planning for the future.
posted by Wretch729 at 10:25 AM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Big headphones = damaged hearing, at a very tender age. Stop trying to make your babies hip.
posted by Fnarf at 10:26 AM on September 25, 2013


Big headphones = damaged hearing, at a very tender age.

Yeah, one of my first thoughts too. Granted, big headphones aren't as bad for your hearing as ear buds, but still. Those babies are going to have some sad hair cells in 20 years.

Other than that though it's cute and whatever I guess, if you're into babies doing stuff. My only sad about it is that, and I guess this makes me a huge curmudgeon, this will be seen as some sort of replacement for those music and sign language lessons. The reason learning piano as a child is so cognitively beneficial is because you effectively learn a new language - to use a whole new written and expressive syntax, so to speak. You learn to navigate complex harmonies and put together these musical puzzles. Which you don't get from pressing some buttons and looking twee with your headphone on just the left side.

But whatever. Just keep em off the molly.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:34 AM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


In a positive light, I think there's nothing wrong with introducing your kid to creative activities at a very young age. Traktor and an MPC aren't exactly the gateways to musical fun I'd recommend to start with, but it's something to do.

Hey, they're babies. For them, any experience whatsoever is a powerful opportunity for learning and insight. (The lucky little buggers.)
posted by sixohsix at 10:36 AM on September 25, 2013


This is mostly about finding other cool parents to hang out with, right?
posted by naju at 10:37 AM on September 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


"Playskool makes like three dozen different toys that do that."

Yes, but now imagine a world-famous DJ using those very samplers and you have DJ Nu-Mark from Jurassic 5 throwing down one of the most creative DJ sets you're ever going to see. I don't know why the hell is guy isn't a YouTube OMG VIRAL SQUEEEEE sensation yet... 250K views still seems a bit paltry here :P

As for the actual article, a friend put it succinctly: "I'm okay with anything that separates dumb people from their money."
posted by raihan_ at 10:38 AM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh boy, another thread where we can all point and laugh and try to guess the real motivations people have for finding new ways to not go insane staying home with their babies all day.

We did music "lessons", swimming, and a few other things, because playing "Peek-a-boo" for eighteen hours a day sure does get old and it's nice to get out of the house and hang with people who are in the same shit-and-puke covered boat.

Now, at 11, he's a great swimmer and has an excellent musical ear, so who knows.
posted by bondcliff at 10:43 AM on September 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


If the upshot of this is that people will now not only be forced to view and perhaps "like" endless photos of the offspring of their friends and family on facebook but also to "like" an endless stream of dissonant midi files then I for one support it wholeheartedly and without reservation.
posted by elizardbits at 11:04 AM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Mandatory familial attendance at various "performances" will also be supported by my administration.
posted by elizardbits at 11:05 AM on September 25, 2013


Just don't drop the bass
inet on the first day. Rookie mistake.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:07 AM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm grateful I grew up in an age when children were allowed to be children.
posted by tommasz at 11:08 AM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


The reason learning piano as a child is so cognitively beneficial...

Also: playing instruments has a physical dimension. That's why it's harder to do than just assembling loops. (I can't even get a sound out of a trumpet or sax, not one note). And you have to learn to coordinate your laboriously acquired new piano-touching skills with your mind and with your aesthetic goals. It's got to be good for development.

But it's funny, everyone wants (or used to want) their kids to have music lessons, but if they actually become a musician, they are usually not too happy about it....
posted by thelonius at 11:09 AM on September 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm grateful I grew up in an age when children were allowed to be children.

I force my kid to read the Wall Street Journal before he's allowed to play with his Lego bricks and even then I make him follow the instructions to build the model on the box.
posted by bondcliff at 11:11 AM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I dunno. I think this sounds cool, the baby that is into gangster rap especially, I'm not sure they really make that anymore but its a baby we are talking about, can't expect a baby to be up on all the new mixtapes and leaks. Wonder what that kid is bumping in his stroller.

I wonder if they have adult classes.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:29 AM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


But it's funny, everyone wants (or used to want) their kids to have music lessons, but if they actually become a musician, they are usually not too happy about it....

Ideally, you force them to play an instrument they don't like up through high school, so they become reasonably good and have an edge getting into a fancy college. But by this point they're burnt out, there is no joy in music, only frustration and guilt, so without you forcing them to play they quit, and hopefully major in something that pays well and sounds impressive to your friends.
posted by vogon_poet at 11:59 AM on September 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


Having a piano in the house was once a serious must-have signifier of decency and respectability. Who even has a piano? People with some spare money, and a place to even keep one. So, right out of the gate, it proves that you are no peasant. It also generally exudes cultivation (remember, you live in town now, you are supposed to have a little culture) and playing it improves the marriageability of your daughters. Worried that it may be manufactured by the Devil? You can play hymns on it, relax.
posted by thelonius at 12:14 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm grateful I grew up in an age when children were allowed to be children.

Yes. Because giving children exposure to ideas and teaching them concrete skills that will translate into other, broader parts of their world is just robs them of a perfect, care-free existence. This is clearly terrible.

Jesus, when I was a kid in the 80's, most of us just watched a shit ton of TV, no one showed us even the basic building blocks on how to edit video. I admit the kids are a bit young, why would anyone shit on this*? Even if it is 'just' an excuse for the parents to build a little bit of community and have a break from the mind numbingly boring experience that is an infant-to-toddler, how can that kind of social interaction be bad for a child or their parents?

This is phenomenally awesome on so many levels and doesn't need any shit thrown its way. Community, education and just plain old exposure to awesome shit are all pretty goddamn amazing things.

*As long as the headphones are set to an appropriately low level, of course.
posted by furnace.heart at 12:20 PM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I can't even get a sound out of a trumpet or sax, not one note

Seriously? I can't play either one, or any instrument really, beyond a few chords on the guitar and piano, and I was easily able to burble away on both trumpet and saxophone the instant I picked one up. It wasn't music, mind you -- dogs within a mile radius perked up their ears and ran away -- but it was notes. I even performed in a skit as "the world's worst jazz trumpeter" with great success. It's easy as pie to get a sound, if you can blow a raspberry.
posted by Fnarf at 12:21 PM on September 25, 2013


Big headphones = damaged hearing, at a very tender age.

That's nonsense. LOUD headphones = damaged hearing. What reason do you have to believe that that these kids are being subjected to inappropriate sound levels?
posted by blue t-shirt at 12:27 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I haven't tried in years. I guess SOME kind of noise came out, but I seem to be a lip doofus or something.
posted by thelonius at 12:27 PM on September 25, 2013


concrete skills

Uh-huh. The parts of the brain wherein those skills you speak of don't even exist yet. When your baby is first figuring out that you can turn a block over and see the other side, what you're seeing is their brain growing, making new connections. Learning how to push a button on a sampler might have some educational value in learning the physical properties of pushing a button, but that's all. This is just the latest in a long, long line of bullshit fake "educational" junk that ignores the reality of childhood development in order to make people with more money than sense feel like they're giving their kids "an edge". It's for the parents, not the kids.
posted by Fnarf at 12:29 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is mostly about finding other cool parents to hang out with, right?
Yes, of course it is. Stay home alone with an infant for 12 to 14 hours every single weekday and your choices are: 1, find other stay-at-home parents that you can meet up with under the pretense of your little monsters actually caring about hanging out with each other, which they do not, or; 2, go totally mental. I chose 1. You would too.

Also: playing instruments has a physical dimension. That's why it's harder to do than just assembling loops.
I'm not going to claim that DJing is as challenging as being a concern pianist, but there are a lot of angles to it more complicated than "just assembling loops." Most people can learn the basics well enough to mix songs, more-or-less, but that doesn't make them good DJs.
posted by 1adam12 at 12:29 PM on September 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


That's nonsense. LOUD headphones = damaged hearing.

Nah, you'd be surprised. Duration of exposure is also a critical factor. Ear buds don't have to be very loud to damage the tympanic membrane, because the waves have nowhere to leak and bombard the ear drum. To say nothing of damage to the hair cells.
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:30 PM on September 25, 2013


That's why it's harder to do than just assembling loops.

I just mean, it is physically harder to get a musical sound out of an instrument, than it is to learn how to use GarageBand to play a pattern that you want, with that kind of sound. It takes longer to learn how (for most people).

I would say that being able to compose interesting material from loops or samples is like any composing in its difficulty, and it is kind of a different thing than what I was thinking of (for example, there are some great players who are useless for writing music). And there have been great arranger/writers, like, I think, one of the Philadelphia International Records guys, who couldn't really play an instrument. They had ideas, and they'd peck them out at the piano and sing - you play this, you play that, take 1, go.

But I did not make this clear - sorry.
posted by thelonius at 12:39 PM on September 25, 2013


It's for the parents, not the kids.

It very well can be, and probably is, both. I agree that the younger the child is, the more it is for the adults...but healthy, socialized parents help babies become healthier socialized babies.

As time goes on, that shifts. The kids in the article may just be learning that 'buttons exist,' but they pretty quickly learn that 'buttons do x' and can throw together pretty complex chains of action and reaction at a young age. That capacity can change in a matter of weeks for a young child. The kids aren't going to be composing anything 'good' for a great long while, but this kind of exposure can be beneficial, and that exposure builds benefit over time.

I've known kids at little as 2 (not much beyond the '20 months' noted in the article) who play instruments...not well...because, well, they're two. But early exposure to the actual objects isn't detrimental, and it sure as hell doesn't rob them of 'being children.' I know a first grader who can play the drums pretty well, because his parents took him to music classes pretty young (just before he turned, 3 I think?). He's not a prodigy, but he is actually learning concrete skills.
posted by furnace.heart at 12:48 PM on September 25, 2013


"Playskool makes like three dozen different toys that do that."

... and I've bent circuits in a bunch of 'em.
posted by Ardiril at 1:22 PM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


While literal babies doing this is kind of goofy, children can sing in tune starting around age 3. Hipster preschoolers could actually get something out of playing a sampler.
posted by modernserf at 1:25 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


DJing can totally be taught to kids, it's not hard, especially with MIDI controllers. People like Moldover have done great work creating child-friendly MIDI controller bands that allow kids to play with sound in exciting new ways.

I think this is great, but perhaps for 3 year olds +
posted by Theta States at 1:45 PM on September 25, 2013


Oh and the idea that this got press coverage before a single class took place really does make the idea of it all totally insufferable.
posted by Theta States at 1:45 PM on September 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


bottle service
posted by moonmilk at 2:29 PM on September 25, 2013 [8 favorites]


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